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American Legion auxiliary unit donates to service dogs nonprofit in recognition of POW/MIA Day

In recognition of National Prisoners of War/Missing in Action Recognition Day, the Favre Baldwin American Legion Auxiliary Unit No. 12 donated to a nonprofit that assists veterans dealing with PTSD.

The Tyler-based auxiliary unit on Friday gave a $501 donation to the For Veterans Sake Foundation at the Korean War Memorial on the T.B. Butler Fountain Plaza in Tyler.

The auxiliary of the American Legion Post consists of women who are members of the post or female relatives of post members.

For Veterans Sake Foundation President Monty Hutson said the purpose of the organization is to provide service dogs and counseling to veterans experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder mainly in the Tyler-Longview area. Hutson served in the U.S. Army for six years in the 101st Airborne Division and 8th Infantry in Germany.

“It’s really good,” Hutson said of the donation. “They support us and we support them. Veterans support veterans. The $500 will go a long way to get dogs to more veterans.”

The amount of service dogs distributed ranges from 15 to 60 per year depending on the number of veterans and dog trainers. Almost all dogs given through the organization are rescue animals, he said.

Lisa Hudanich, Auxiliary Unit 12 president, said these services are a great help to veterans dealing with PTSD.

“We do anything we can for our veterans,” she said. “There’s always something happening at the Legion so we can continue to help.”

Hudanich added that the post’s Legion riders group held a fundraiser in June that made $4,700 for the nonprofit.

National POW/MIA Recognition Day is celebrated annually on the third Friday of September to remember those who are unaccounted in war or military service and their families.

TWITTER: @ZWellerman

East Texas State Fair features entertainment, activities for seniors

Girthal and Clarence Miller, of Whitehouse, say they’ve never missed an East Texas State Fair during their 66 years of marriage.

The Millers were one of the couples honored for the longest marriage at the Senior Day event Friday at the 104th annual fair.

“We enjoy it,” she said of the fair. “We’ve been coming for years since our kids were little.”

Joyce and Bob Pettit, of Tyler, were also given the longest marriage award for their 66 years.

Senior Day allowed seniors 55 and older free admission until 7 p.m. on the fair’s opening day. A special program in the Harvey Convention Center featured live entertainment, bingo, painting, prizes and recognitions.

“This is always a special day to kick off the 104th (East Texas) State Fair,” John Sykes, fair president and CEO, announced during Senior Day. “(It’s) such a pleasure to see all of you.”

The oldest man and woman were named king and queen of the fair as well. Sara Carbone, 98, of Tyler, was crowned this year’s queen and Willie Manoy, 90, of Chandler, was crowned the king.

Entertainment featured the John Tyler High School pep band and cheerleaders, Tyler Senior Center Dancers and Flappers, Texas College Chorus and the musical duo Bongo and the Point.

Mindy Lyons, 71, with the Tyler Senior Center Dancers and Flappers, has been a part of the group for three years.

“We just have a great time entertaining our seniors,” Lyons said. “I think it’s fantastic that we have women in their 80s doing the Charleston. Tyler’s a great place to be an active senior.”

Other senior activities were health screenings by Tyler Junior College nursing students and vendor booths from Alzheimer’s Alliance of Smith County, Azalea Orthopedics, Christus Health Plan, Humana, United Healthcare and UT Health East Texas.

TWITTER: @ZWellerman

Book by TJC alumnus serves as guide for Ken Burns’ ‘Country Music’ documentary series

East Texas native and Tyler Junior College alumnus Bill C. Malone was a key component in creating Ken Burns’ eight-part documentary, “Country Music,” airing this month on PBS.

Widely recognized as country music’s senior authority, Malone is an author, musician and noted historian of traditional American musical forms. His groundbreaking work, “Country Music U.S.A.,” published in 1968, was the first definitive and still stands as the most authoritative academic history on the subject.

For more than 30 years, Ken Burns and his collaborators have created some of the most acclaimed historical documentaries ever made, including “The Civil War,” “Jazz,” “Baseball,” “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea,” “The Dust Bowl,” “The Roosevelts: An Intimate History” and “The Vietnam War.”

“Country Music” chronicles the history of a uniquely American genre, from southern Appalachia to Texas, California honky-tonks to Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry. It was directed by Burns, written by Dayton Duncan, and produced by Duncan, Burns and Julie Dunfey.

Burns and his associates credit Malone’s book as their roadmap for crafting the series.

In a Wisconsin State Journal article, producer and writer Dayton Duncan said he relied heavily on Malone’s book for his initial research.

“Obviously, you want to go to the bible first,” Duncan said. “When he wrote ‘Country Music U.S.A.’ there weren’t many, if any, scholarly works about this thing that was once called hillbilly music.”

They spent eight years researching and producing the film, conducting interviews with more than 100 people, including 40 members of the Country Music Hall of Fame, 20 of whom have since passed on.

Among those interviewed were Malone and a wide range of country artists, including Marty Stuart, Rosanne Cash, Vince Gill, Reba McEntire, Merle Haggard, Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, Dwight Yoakam, Emmylou Harris, Kris Kristofferson, and Naomi and Wynonna Judd, as well as studio musicians, record producers and others.

The film uses more than 3,200 photographs and over two hours of archival footage, including rare and never-before-seen photos and footage of Jimmie Rodgers, Johnny Cash and others.

About Bill C. Malone

Malone, who was born in Tyler and grew up in Lindale, graduated from TJC in 1954.

According to The Apache yearbook from that year, he served as president of TJC’s Alpha Omicron Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa and was a member of the Student Forum and Future Teachers.

In an email to TJC, his wife, Bobbie, said, “Bill’s best professors ever, as he enjoys telling folks, were at TJC: Dr. J.C. Henderson (biology/chemistry), Wiley Jenkins (history/government) and Blanche Prejean (English/journalism).”

After TJC, Malone went to The University of Texas at Austin, where he earned bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees.

He became a well-known singer in the Austin area, distinguished by his encyclopedic storehouse of songs. It was after a road trip to the Bluebonnet Bowl football game in Houston, during which Malone sang countless old hillbilly songs, that his supervising professor recognized his passion for country music and suggested Malone make it the topic for his doctoral dissertation.

Malone received his doctorate in January 1965 and took the manuscript of his thesis to the University of Texas Press. It was published as “Country Music U.S.A.”

On the documentary’s website, Malone said, “I think country music, in many respects, is America’s truest music because it comes closer to really reflecting and voicing the aspirations, the fears, the prejudices of average people. The everyday problems of survival are voiced in country music, in my humble opinion, better than they are in any other form of music.”

He continued, “There’s always been a very strong dose of both reality and fantasy in country music. And I think that’s important to people.”

Malone, a professor emeritus of history from Tulane University, and his wife, Bobbie, live in Madison, Wisconsin. He hosts a weekly radio show, “Back to the Country,” on WORT-FM community radio in Madison and performs with Bobbie on mandolin and guitar.